This article is a culmination of 3-4 year's rigorous activity of browsing internet sites and exploring www in the search of imperatives of today's corporate world.
I've visited numerous sites, read surveys (still do and will continue to do so) and jotted down the nitty-gritty's. It was quite a herculean task to gather the salient points under one roof, joining and/or removing matching words and lastly organizing them in an easy-to-grasp manner.
Going through the article, you folks will get a feel of repetition of some points, well that's something which has been encountered by me many times and also signifies that more emphasis is laid on it by employers.
Meanwhile, the endeavor is to make one and all aware about the current skills shortage problem, so that we could equip ourselves with the set of skills needed to build a lucrative and sustainable career.
Employers are looking for accountants to step outside the traditional finance function and be involved in 'big picture' business strategy. Also, they can't be geeks to the core; accountants must have social interaction skills to forge good relationships at different levels.
Soft skills can be underestimated by candidates, but employers are increasingly (more and more) looking for potential chief financial officers with leadership, management, and interpersonal skills - skills that can also determine the employee's ability to fit into an existing team.
I) Only 29 percentage of the respondents felt that business schools are actually addressing the skills required at the workforce.
In India, the corporate job survey questioned the employers about the single most important thing they want in their prospective employees.
They were given options such as numerical and logical ability, domain expertise, communication abilities, cultural fitment/culture-fit(fitting into a given organizational culture and attitude), integrity and values, result orientation, adaptability (fitting into a given organizational culture and attitude), interpersonal skills and learning agility.
Most of the employers across Industries, voted for both Domain expertise and integrity and values. This is followed by interpersonal skills and learning agility (or learnabilty - the desire and capability to develop in-demand skills to be employable for the long-term)
II) (A) THE TOP SKILLS IDENTIFIED AS DESIRABLE WERE:
1) Critical and Creative thinking
2) Critical and Complex Problem-solving: Ability to look at complicated business issues and bring creative solutions to the table.
3) 'Effective' Communication skills (both written and oral are equally important): Ability to communicate effectively both verbally and in writing. Advanced Presentation skills (e.g. 'Effective Public Speaking'), Advanced excel skills & writing skills (e-mails, reports, memo, letters, plans, proposals, presentations)
4) Leadership ability and Interpersonal skills
5) Cultural sensitivity and diversity
6) Design thinking: In Industry parlance, Design thinking refers to the practice of solving traditional tech problems using newer, different and innovative methods
(B) Top skills at present
1. Judgment and Decision-making
2. Digital media literacy
3. Learning agility
(C) Top Skills of the future
1. Managing Complexity
2. Innovative thinking/mindset - Creativity or Creative thinking
3. Dealing with ambiguity
4. Collaboration with others
Top 5 skills Indian Employees consider most important for prospects in five years' time are:
1. Leadership skills (79%)
2. Management skills (72%)
Mostly required in HR, IT, Marketing and Strategy function
3. Technical skills related to current job role(64%)
4. Communication skills(62%)
5. IT skills(59%)
7 skills students need for their future
1. Critical thinking and Problem-Solving
2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence: Teamwork doesn't happen so much in a room anymore as much as it happens across the country and even more across the globe. For instance, When IBM sets out to solve a problem, they find the best talent from around the world to work together on a team .It's primarily self-managed. To be successful in a team, you need to understand and respect differences(cultural, religious, ethnic, racial)
3. Learning Agility and Adaptability
4. Initiative and entrepreneurship
5. Effective oral and written communication skills: The problem with the student's writing is with their thinking. They can't analyze, reason. Their writing is fuzzy because their thinking is fuzzy. That's only half the problem. The other half of the problem is they don't know how to write with voice. They learn by rote, by formula. They can't write persuasively, articulately -their point of view.
6. Accessing and analyzing information: The amt of info. available to us is increasing exponentially. So, an ability to not only to do an effective web search, but above all to understand what is the really critical info. from what is trivial is absolutely crucial skill.
7. Curiosity and imagination(Creativity): To make oneself stand out from the crowd. Creativity and innovation will be most prized-ideas will be the currency of the future. There's no way you can outsource innovation.
I'm discontinuing the article mid-way to prevent you folks from information overload. The final article will deal with the whole gamut of soft skills and other research findings required in today's finance professional.
In the end, I'd like to mention admirable quotes:
Albert Einstein: 'Imagination is more powerful than knowledge' and 'The only source of knowledge is experience'
The purpose of writing this piece is to give a full understanding about the uncharted territory of corporate world outside bookish knowledge(technical/trade skills). Please don't get anxious about your 'readiness' level to face the employers after reading this article. That is so because epic proportions of students in India and around the world are facing this crisis called skill gaps or competency crisis or skills mismatch.